My Aeromodelling story
It was in the seventies as a student of Jawahar Balabhavan in Trivandrum, kerala, India where I had the first taste of aeromodels. It was a brief honeymoon flirting with some models like the sky bee (control line) and chuck gliders and frog engines, for about an year or so. I was hooked. After a long break I got into GOVT Arts College Thiruvananthapuram where I joined the Air squadron NCC as a cadet during 1980. I joined Air wing NCC fascinated by the name “ Air Squadron” little knowing what it had to offer. After some time I came to know that there is a section called aeromodelling . Again my mind flew back to Jawahar Balabhavan in trivandrum where I had the first taste of aeromodelling. There the instructor was Thomas , who was an ex Indian air force airman. There I started my climb on the ladder to the world of aeromodelling.
Before I proceed let me remember my senior those days, Late Shri Ramakanth( Flt.Lt.Ramakanth) Air force officer, who was also my senior in Boy Scouts at GOVT Model HS Thiruvananthapuram. He was the Under Officer in the Air wing NCC those days and was an expert in flying control line models. It was a pleasure to watch him fly those models during our weekly parade on Sundays at Mar Ivanious College. By then he had mastered the secret of flying a control line model inverted( Upside Down) . I think he may have been the first person to fly inverted in kerala.
It was something that caught my fancy and mind you only control line is the last answer then I was wondering when I might get to flying this control line thing. So I had my chance and initial hiccups like going down on the ground with a spinning head etc I had my chance to fly a sky bee all by myself on a full tank and land the bee quite safely. And In a short time I was regular with wing overs and loops and graduated now to a peacemaker. How to fly inverted ? big question but no answer. Now another senior Allen Mathew had an answer. He said what you do is to strighten up the plane at the top of the loop when the plane is inverted. The controls are reversed now and the plane will fly inverted.
So I got the theory bolted in my mind. So I had to practice mentally to condition my mind for what I hoped will help me fly inverted. Well there was no one to teach you to fly inverted and the only one flying inverted was not very keen to teach the same to all and sundry. So my senior continued to be the only inverted flyer in kerala.
Some of my fellow cadets were highly rated to take over the flying mantle from my senior once they fly inverted.
I still remember the day when I flew my first inverted flight on control line. It was just another day of flying a the salvation army school Trivandrum,Kerala,India where we used to practice flying. Everybody had their quota of loops wingovers etc including me and the time must be around 6-00 pm sun had set and we were about to pack off for the day I just requested to have a last go before we call it a day. It was a peace maker and the last thing on my mind was to try inverted flight. Took off as usual and started my flight it was almost dark now. I had a couple of wing overs and a few loops after that I did 2 loops and on the 3 rd loop suddenly I suddenly thought of what may happen if level the control during top of the loop and my hand moved on its own it seems and I leveled the control and presto the model leveled off and started flying in the opposite direction. All my dummy practice sessions came in handy and the model came down and I shouted the directions to myself down down and my hand came down and the model went up.. well it was flying inverted. So I flew inverted a few rounds with the model in a sig saw ( up down ) manner without crashing the model and she landed inverted when the fuel ran out. I couldn’t try recovery as the engine stalled during inverted which was God given as the flying speed was low and controlling the model was easy especially on your first self taught inverted. With God’s grace and endless hours of practice in my bedroom even at night( I used to imagine (simulate) flying inverted in my room ) I was able to put into practice what my senior allen Mathew told me as words. After that things had taken off well and I was able to have some success in my flying.
With this I was able to make a small dot at the national level representing kerala state.
Silver medal at All India Vayu sainik Camp 1980
Bronze Medal at All India open aeromodelling rally at Madras – 1982
Gold Medal at All India open aeromodelling rally at Bangalore – 1983
Gold medal at All India republic day camp New Delhi – 1982=
Being self taught I had decided that I will teach any one who was interested in flying every thing I knew. So I had shared my knowledge and experience with all my juniors who cared to fly. Two of them were good Late Shri Briju Mohan who later was the aeromodelling instructor at air squardon NCC Trivandrum and Col. Oomen.T.Jacob who went on to grab the gold medal for aeromodelling at Delhi camp.
As on date ( Mar 2019) there are a lot of restrictions on RC flying in India . Hopefully things should stabilise shortly. i am still in touch. i hope to restart aeromodelling shortly.